Decolonizing National Consciousness Redux: Ousmane Sembène's Xala as Transhistorical Critique

Vartan Messier


Prompted by the recent celebration of Senegal's fiftieth anniversary of independence, this article revisits Ousmane Sembène’s Xala in the contemporary contexts of the postcolony and globalization. Considering both novel and film, and utilizing an intertextual approach of cinematic translation and cultural theory, I argue that Sembène’s political aesthetic remains pertinent as a transhistorical work of criticism. Part of the reason is that this visceral satire eloquently maps out the pervasive and insidious effects of colonial ideologies on the ruling classes, even in the wake of Senegal’s fifty years of self-rule.


Ousmane Sembène; Xala; Cinematic Adaptation; Translation; Ngũgĩ wa Thiong’o; Frantz Fanon; National Consciousness,

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